Day 76: The one where they crossed the bridge and became cross country cyclists

Today the team rode 16 miles from San Rafael to San Francisco!! We really did it, we biked all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Saying it even now feels surreal, we really made it from NYC to San Fran all via bike. Overall hills, through sweltering heat, freezing cold rain, over mountains, battling forest fires, injuries, lightning, bike breakdowns… the list goes on. This was not the easiest journey, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was a battle some days and a breeze others. I know that I learned a lot about myself and even surprised myself at times. I think we can all say the same. There is a new found confidence and strength that comes after completing such a journey. All of us will forever be connected through this grand adventure and I couldn’t be more thankful for the laughter and good times we had together as a team. Seeing that bridge today ( well not really seeing it, due to the fog) made me feel so proud of the team. All of us got here one way or another and that is an accomplishment that very few people can claim. We even were joined by our pal Justin, who drove the van. It was the perfect closing to have him back as he was so loved by the team. It was special that even though he had to leave the journey early he could share that moment with us! After several photos were taken at the lookout point, it was finally time to cross. The last three miles of our cross county ride! It was cold, a little rainy and foggy, but I wasn’t phased by any of it. This was the greatest moment! All of us had been envisioning the moment where we crossed the bridge for almost a year. The addreanal and emotions were in full effect. Once we crossed the bridge we were greeted by our families. “We really did it”, is all that kept running through my head.

This morning we went around in our circle and said nice things about our teammates to our left. We also shared our proudest moments. Because of this I would like to thank everyone on the team for all that they contributed to make this summer great! Even if many of you don’t ever read this, I want to say how much fun I have had with you all and how proud I am of everyone on the team! I4K forever :)

Today’s ride was dedicated to Elias’s grandmother who was a two time cancer survivor.

Thank you to all of you who have kept up with this blog. I’ve work hard this year to capture each day so that each of you can have a small piece of the experience.

We also raised approx. 110,000 dollars for cancer research. With this contribution we are now one step closer to ending this awful disease. Thank you again to all who donated.

~ Rolling out~ ( what we say when we leave each place everyday)

Mandy

Flat count: 0
Song of the day: Time of my life
Memorable moment: might be obvious…Crossing the bridge :)

Day 75: The last big ride

Today the team had our last “real” ride which consisted of 57 miles from Healdsburg to San Rafael. The day started out strong with a team circle where everyone awkwardly held hands as we heard some of Justin’s inspiring words for the mosher. We then took off, knowing San Fran was only a day and 80 miles away. It’s really crazy to think that we are finally reaching the destination that we have all been riding almost 80 days toward. It is in grasp and in sight. Tomorrow we will zip up our jersey, lace up our shoes and clip in for the last time on the ride. The routine that we have grown so accustomed to will be over in a matter of hours. All the days sleeping on floors, eating off parking lots and living the nomad lifestyle.. will become a memory after tomorrow. There are few things I have learned on this ride that I would like to share with all of you. First, people will surprise you! We have met some of the most amazing people on this journey, many of which had their share of hardships. They still continue to give and to support us in any way they can. I want to take this time to thank everyone who has opened their doors to let us stay, or provided a meal, or even to the people we met at gas stations who give us a thumbs up. It is easy to get caught up but if you slow down and have a conversation with someone you will realize how much good this world has. Secondly, you don’t need much to be happy. On this ride we have been dirty, sore, and tired. We have not had beds or any possessions besides our black bags. However, you realize what little things you need in order to still be happy. When you remove some of the privileges life can seem more simple and authentic. Third, your limits are created by you! I think most of us can agree that signing up for this ride was scary. We were giving up our summer with a bunch of strangers and biking everyday. There were days we all struggled and times when you didn’t think we could make it through the day. Times when we felt that this venture could be too much but we pushed through. Congrats to everyone for pushing their limits, none of us would be here if we didn’t push through our hardest days. Lastly, that cancer affects us all. There are people that we touch by doing this ride each and every year. With our fundraising efforts and rides each summer we do make a difference. It has been a pleasure writing the blog this summer and getting to document the journey for the team. I hope you all felt you could be apart of this experience with us. I thank all of you for reading and I hope that I kept you well informed. I will still be writing on last time tomorrow!

A special thank you to Sofies family who put together a very special evening for us, complete with hotels and a lovely dinner. We appreciate all the work and support! The ride dedication today was for Lauren’s grandfather who passed away from Leukemia.

Lastly today we had our superlatives ( The phillies) each of us were voted on superlatives and presented them tonight!

~ San Fran here we come!~

Mandy

Flat count: 5
Song of the day: Closing time
Memorable moment: Lighting sparklers in the hotel parking lot to celebrate!

Day 74: A little swim in Healdsburg

Today the team rode our last big ride of the summer, 90 miles from Laytonville to Healdsburg, California. Today we got hit with the real California heat, getting up to 99 today was a drastic change to the cooler weather of the Redwoods. Today had a lot of rolling hills with gradual climbing but the dry desert areas made the ride more difficult. We made one of our pit stops today at an In-N-Out burger. When in California, us college kids gotta sample the fast food of the golden state. Let me tell you it was a mixed review from the team but overall we agreed that it was fairly average. Today we even got lucky enough to ride through the wine country of Sonoma. It was really beautiful to see the vineyards that span for miles. A bitter sweet ride as many of us are excited to have another long day done but knowing it brings us closer to the end of this crazy adventure.

A huge thank you to our host Deb, from Good Shepherd Church for being so kind to us and letting us swim at her home. She also prepared a delicious lasagna dinner that was the home cooked meal that gave us a taste of home that is quickly approaching. Today’s ride was dedicated to Liz’s aunt who had breast cancer.

~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: 5
Song of the day: Last time for everything -Brad Paisley
Memorable moment: Completing our last 90 mile and seeing the sign that said we are less than 100 miles from San Fran.. we’ve come a long way

Day 73: Laytonville is not Lit

Today the team rode 75 miles from The Redwoods to Laytonville, California. Today was 6,000 feet of climbing, however it did not feel as difficult as it might sound. The climbing was pretty gradual and had beautiful views of the hills filled with pine trees. Some of us even rode through on of the great big Redwood trees!!

Thank you to our hosts at Community Christian Church. Also thank you to the Curtis family for donating dinner tonight, the tacos were delicious! Today’s ride dedication was mine and it was for Marty who battled prostate cancer.

~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: 2
Song of the day: Human -The Killers
Memorable moment: Team Hose shower.. we’ve gone many days without one and it is an experience let me tell ya

Day 72: Into the Redwoods!

Today the team rode 47 miles from Eureka to Humboldt Redwoods state park located in California. We have ridden through several Redwood state parks while in California and I believe this is our third. Each one is unique and absolutely beautiful to ride through. The air is so crisp and fresh with the trees creating the perfect shade canopy to ride through. It has been a real treat and a great change of scenery! The day started out very cool and eventually warmed up as we moved further from the coast. The difference in climate in one days time has surprised the team, California is a much more diverse state then others we have seen. We continued to ride on highway 101 for a little while and we have been pleasantly surprised at the drivers not being as aggressive. Also, today in the forest my group stopped at a fruit stand where a very kind women gave us free blackberry popsicles, they were delicious and refreshing. Several other groups also stopped at a few gift shops along the way. We really enjoyed the short distance and wonderful scenery that accompanied this route!

Today the ride was dedicated to Lauren’s uncle, Gary who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma 2 years ago.

~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: 0
Song of the day: Budapest
Memorable moment: roasting s’mores by the campfire and witnessing Eric try his first s’more.

Rider Spotlight: Ryan Watkins

What’s been the best part of I4k so far?
The best part has been seeing the mountains in Colorado. Biking the mountains was also very cool.

What do you think of when you pull through headwinds at 18 mph?
I like to think of a song, generally the last one I heard. When I have a beat I can crack out any speed I need to.

Where do you get your sense of humor from?
I would say it’s mostly self generated. I listen to a lot of stand up comedy.

Favorite rest stop snack?:
Berry protein bars

What is your go to pick up line seeing as though you are the ladies man?
I don’t have any but I really like the Tennessee one. The one about the 10 I see

What’s your dream place to live?
Somewhere that is medium density population and it’s got a nice wholesome atmosphere and I’m friends with all my neighbors. Washington or Oregon could be good

What place are you most looking forward to on the ride or liked the most?
I liked Utah the most, in particular the day going into Provo.

What has been your favorite day on I4K so far?
Day 15: Going into Richmond on the first century day. It was a good group and we got through the day fast. It melted away like butter.

Team Knife or spoon?
Team knife for peanut butter and spoon for jelly

If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Regeneration or healing. I like Wolverine and he’s got that so it’s pretty cool. Healing seems pretty usefully. I also just like claws…

What’s been the most challenging part of the ride?
The most challenging part of the ride was riding Berthoud pass while also having a sprained back.

New edition to a crayon box what would you be?
Strong and Shallow purple: I don’t think that this shade of purple has gotten enough attention. In the rainbow the v in Roygbv doesn’t get enough love. Let’s put the v back in Roygbv

What will you miss most about I4K?
I will miss most being able to wake up each morning knowing I’m doing something with a purpose. I think it will be tough to find that when I go home.

Rider Spotlight: Lauren Sargent

What’s been the best part of I4k so far?
Going to the Waffle House two days in a row

Why do you prefer headwinds over climbing?
I don’t think it’s fun to climb, I would much rather have headwinds.

You’ve already been a world traveler, how does this trip compare?
I’ve been to many places we have bikes through but we are going slower and taking our time to see some small places

What’s one thing that’s happened on the ride that you think has changed you?
I enjoyed the portrait on day 5, we met a man in the park that was so full of life and optimism. It was a good reminder of why we ride.

Favorite rest stop snack?:
Welch’s fruit snacks

What do you do when you are struggling on the bike?
I don’t think about anything

What’s your dream place to live?
I want to live on a farm that isn’t in the middle of nowhere that is also in close access to an international airport

What place are you most looking forward to on the ride or liked the most?
I liked Steamboat Springs the most. I’ve been there on family vacations and I watched ski jumping for four hours

What has been your favorite day on I4K so far?
I liked day 9 because we slowed down and didn’t care about getting anywhere. We got lost but we ended up getting apple cider slushies. We ended up getting cheeseburgers and root beer floats.

Team Knife or spoon?
Team knife for peanut butter and spoon for jelly

If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Teleportation or time travel

What’s been the most challenging part of the ride?
The most challenging part of the ride is riding every single day

When you think of the Waffle House what is one word that comes to mind?
Waffles

New edition to a crayon box what would you be?
Powerful black: because Lauren is not creative and powerful is the adjective for Lauren on the team.

What will you miss most about I4K?
Having the freedom because we can be anywhere and do anything

Day 71: Eureka is an interesting place!

Today was a rest day in Eureka. It was our last day off before we arrive in San Francisco! Some of us started the day going to the laundromat and then to a bagel shop. We then went to the movies where some of us saw Mama Mia and others of us saw The Purge. Clearly we are very divided on movie tastes on this team. We then came back and just relaxed for a few hours before dinner time. For dinner we had pizza from our hosts, thank you to First United Methodist.

~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: N/A
Song of the day: Young, Wild and Free
Memorable moment: Getting a note on the van from the sandwich place from yesterday that forgot two sandwiches in our order. The note said for us to redeem our two sandwiches haha